We did it! We went out and had our first bonafide trail ride today!
Let me just say Frankie was a rock star! Nothing fazed the boy, he just went right on like he has done this his whole life. I am lovin him more each day. I honestly could not have asked him for one thing better today. This was also a bittersweet day because it is probably the last time I trail ride with good friend Tiffany at Brown County. Tiffany and family are moving in just a few short weeks to Detroit area where her hubby landed a great job, can't blame them for hopping on it and going with the flow. Details....
Tiffany arrived at 8 am , we decided earlier to take her trailer since it was hooked up already and she lives just a mile from me. Her trailer is a nice new Keifer that is a two horse straight load with ramps in rear and a walk out side ramp. I must admit I was nervous to see what Frankie would do on a ramp given our last trailering experience. This is one area Frankie is not to experienced in, he has only been hauled three times before today. We dropped the rear ramp and to my surprise he walked right up it with no apprehension. We tied him in and started the 40 min drive out to Brown County. Upon arrival there was no one at the guard shack, Yea
that means we ride free today! Hey every little bit helps these days. There were a few trailers scattered about but it was pretty empty. We tried to unload Frankie out the back ramp. He started but he would freeze up and I swear we thought he would sit down more than once. We decided to unload him out the side ramp, he did this wonderfully. Frankie was nervous and did let out some really high pitched whinnies that sounded like he was a weanling. We did a quick grooming and saddled up we were headed out by 9:15.
Here are Frankie and Cisco getting to know one another
We decided we would try the easier of the two sides of the trails being that it was Frankie's first ride and it is less hilly and less rocky on the "A" side. We headed out on trail "A" and we were off. The first test was to cross the main road and head past the log shelter house. The only thing he looked at sideways was the speed limit sign but nothing more than a side glance. The trails were still leaf covered and a little mushy but not to bad. Frankie strolled along relaxed and alert but very mannerly. We crossed over a large culvert pipe and he did not even booger at it, then came the first water crossing. It was a small incline down to a small steam, I was surprised to see it was flowing. I must say he wasn't to sure about the mud preceding the stream but he went where I directed him with no problem. He was very curious to sniff and investigate the water but crossed with no issues.
Frankie's first water crossing
By this time I am proud as can be of this fella, nothing is fazing him.
I even turned him around and recrossed the stream without Cisco and he did it with no hesitation. Since he was doing so well we decided to take a smaller trail off into the woods that would be a little more challenging. We veered off on trail "1"
it is a 1.5 mile trail thru the valley and back up to trail "A". We did some log crossovers from snags that had fallen and again he gave it no thought and just kept on. We did climb some pretty steep hills and he was just as happy leading or following Cisco, although Cisco does walk much faster than him which resulted in this view alot today
We rode trail "A" for a while and then took trail "J" back down toward the camp. Trail "J" is a 3.2 mile trail that starts at the top of the ridge then runs back down to horse camp. Frankie was very careful picking his way down some slippery slopes covered in leaves, makes me thankful I pulled his shoes off last month.
We decided it was just to nice to quit riding so we thought we would try the "B" side a little. Things were going so nice I got even braver and had Frankie cross this concrete bridge to the other side
The bridge gave us no issues so we continued on toward trail "B" we took the middle of three ways to get up to "B" . The hill we climbed has an elevation of 604 feet, needless to say Frankie and Cisco were a little winded when we got up there. After a short rest to catch their breath we took a short ride on "B" and veered off to back down to camp about a 1 mile loop. We did encounter two men on horseback who were nice enough to take this picture of us.
When we returned to the trailer we found lots of others had joined us in riding today although we only saw the one group of riders while we were out there. I decided to school Frankie on loading and unloading a little. I had him step up on the ramp with two feet then off again after a short while I had him loading and unloading down the ramp. YES! lots of progress in a day. We loaded up Cisco and were on our way. We agreed that the horses couldn't have been better and that it was the perfect day!
I sure will miss riding with miss Tiffany, she is a great gal to travel with and a joy to spend time with. Hopefully we can make a horse trip once a year together, that is the plan.
Hope you all are having stellar weekends like me!